Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again

Solo en Inglès

“Andy's work really goes to the heart of the matter of what it means to be a human being and what our potential is…It's the real deal.” —Jeff Koons

Hear from a range of contemporary artists, curators, and scholars speaking about iconic works on view. Contributors include Jeff Koons, Hank Willis Thomas, Deborah Kass, Peter Halley, Sasha Wortzel, and Richard Meyer.

Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962

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Michael Lobel: What we're looking at here is an early silkscreen painting by Andy Warhol. It's titled Green Coca-Cola Bottles, and Warhol made this painting in the summer of 1962. 

Narrator: Michael Lobel is Professor of Art History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Michael Lobel: Prior to Warhol's use of the silkscreen technique to make paintings, silkscreening had basically been a commercial technique.

Narrator: Warhol screened each bottle one at a time, deliberately making each different from the next. If you focus on the overall visual patterning, it almost reads as an abstract painting. Warhol was very ambitious—he wanted his art to be taken seriously, and abstraction dominated the art world at the time. But he also wanted the work to be perceived as radical and provocative. 

Michael Lobel: He did leave a band of space at the bottom of the painting, and as you'll see, within that band he placed the logo of Coca-Cola. And for me, that's interesting because usually the bottom of a canvas is where we expect to find an artist's signature. 

And I think this tells us a lot about how Warhol was thinking about his own relationship to these images, and that as an artist in the age of mass media, as an artist immersed in consumer culture, it might make sense for him to remove his signature and replace it with a common product logo.

Narrator: In the next gallery, we’ll step back in time to the 1950s, when Warhol was working as a commercial illustrator—an experience that deeply informed his development of the Pop art style on view in this room. 


A print showing rows of Coca-Cola bottles with a logo at the bottom.

Michael Lobel: What we're looking at here is an early silkscreen painting by Andy Warhol. It's titled Green Coca-Cola Bottles, and Warhol made this painting in the summer of 1962. 

Narrator: Michael Lobel is Professor of Art History at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Michael Lobel: Prior to Warhol's use of the silkscreen technique to make paintings, silkscreening had basically been a commercial technique.

Narrator: Warhol screened each bottle one at a time, deliberately making each different from the next. If you focus on the overall visual patterning, it almost reads as an abstract painting. Warhol was very ambitious—he wanted his art to be taken seriously, and abstraction dominated the art world at the time. But he also wanted the work to be perceived as radical and provocative. 

Michael Lobel: He did leave a band of space at the bottom of the painting, and as you'll see, within that band he placed the logo of Coca-Cola. And for me, that's interesting because usually the bottom of a canvas is where we expect to find an artist's signature. 

And I think this tells us a lot about how Warhol was thinking about his own relationship to these images, and that as an artist in the age of mass media, as an artist immersed in consumer culture, it might make sense for him to remove his signature and replace it with a common product logo.

Narrator: In the next gallery, we’ll step back in time to the 1950s, when Warhol was working as a commercial illustrator—an experience that deeply informed his development of the Pop art style on view in this room. 



Andy Warhol, Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962. Silkscreen ink, acrylic, and graphite on canvas, 82 3/4 × 57 1/8 in. (210.2 × 145.1 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 68.25. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York